- 50th Anniversary
- Online Edition
- Print Edition
- Donahue Lecture Series
Americans are subject to the laws and regulations of two different governments: state and federal. While these two governments usually work towards common goals and aim to complement each other, conflicts and overlaps may arise. When they do or when the federal government seeks to avoid conflict in the first place, there are mechanisms—such as express preemption—to ensure that disputes are resolved. One such statute utilizing express preemption is the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA), which prohibits states from enacting any statute or regulation that affects a motor carrier’s “price, route, or service” as it relates to the transportation of property. Since its enactment, the FAAAA’s preemption provision has been used to preempt state law, but it also has been restricted in a number of other cases.
When I arrived at Suffolk Law School in the Fall of 1971, Professor John E. Fenton, Jr., was already a faculty icon. He was universally considered to be one of its very top teachers. He was the faculty advisor to both the Law Review and the Moot Court Board. And he was, hands down, the most approachable, and fun, faculty member. Little did I know when an upperclassman pointed him out to me as a fellow Holy Cross alum, how profound an impact he would have on the direction of my career and life.
On August 24, 2014, Suffolk University Law School lost a legendary and inspirational leader. Outside of Gleason Archer who founded the law school in 1906, few have left their mark on the institution, its faculty, staff, students, and alumni as indelibly as did former Dean and Judge John E. Fenton, Jr. In the eyes and hearts of many, his name and Suffolk Law are synonymous.
In recent decades, public school buildings have become increasingly important venues for religious worship services. This is an outgrowth of two factors. First, school districts today commonly make their facilities available during non-school hours to a variety of community groups. This partially reflects schools’ desire to support local community activity, but in many cases they also have significant financial incentives to charge rent for the space. School district community-use policies are typically open to a range of uses and groups, including religious, thus making the space available to religious groups. Indeed, excluding religious uses from a school-created forum could potentially violate the First Amendment, as reflected in a series of Supreme Court decisions.
An estimated 1,825 college students die each year from alcohol-related, unintentional injuries. Roughly 599,000 students between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four are injured every year while under the influence of alcohol. More than 100,000 students have reported that they were too intoxicated to know whether they had consented to having sex, and an estimated 97,000 students annually are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. College students report a higher binge-drinking rate and are involved in more drunk driving incidents than eighteen to twenty-four year olds who are not in college.
Inventor Brandon Shalton was in the process of testing his invention, which would digitize phone messages and post them instantly to his church’s website, when he received a demand letter from Acacia Research Corporation. The letter claimed that Shalton’s invention infringed an Acacia patent and demanded a license payment under the threat of litigation. Faced with the high cost and uncertainty of litigation, Mr. Shalton did what many small- and medium-sized inventors and businesses have chosen to do when faced with a broad and threatening patent-infringement demand letter: He abandoned his invention. The 2011 passage of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) represented the most significant patent reform in over half a century and an earnest attempt by Congress to foster innovation and patent rights while discouraging frivolous patent-infringement claims. Alas, only a few years removed from the passage of the AIA, there is already a growing consensus among industry insiders and those in Washington D.C. that more needs to be done to prevent bad-faith patent-infringement claims. This Note will explore the growing trend of bad-faith patent-infringement assertions, commonly referred to as “patent trolling,” in the context of proposed and enacted state and federal responses to the systematic threat patent trolls pose to the innovation economy.
Small businesses are imperative in the United States economy. Small businesses make up 99.7 percent of all employer firms in the United States. These firms employ nearly fifty-five million individuals and provide 42.6 percent of the nation’s private-sector payroll. In addition, small businesses are job creators. Between 1993 and 2013, small businesses accounted for 14.3 million net new jobs, sixty-three percent of net new jobs during that period. Further, these firms are responsible for sixty percent of the net new jobs created since the most recent recession. Additionally, in March 2011, about 900,000 self-employed individuals were unemployed the prior year.
Small businesses, despite their prominence in the economy, account for the vast majority of firm failures. One cause of these failures is inadequate capital. The lack of capital is caused, in part, by the small business capital gap. In order to strengthen the small business environment, the United States economy must bridge this gap. One way to address the disparity between small business capital demand and supply is through the further development of crowdfunding.
Hydraulic fracturing—also known as fracking or hydrofracking—is a highly controversial process used for the extraction of oil and natural gas. To date, regulation at the federal level—by Congress and the EPA—has failed to set clear standards for use of the technique. Many proponents of fracking applaud the positive economic impacts, job creation, and a future of American energy independence that are associated with its use across the United States. There are, however, a number of areas of environmental concern associated with hydraulic fracturing.
Despite widespread criticism and a lack of scientific legitimacy, therapists throughout the United States continue to use Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) on patients seeking to change their sexual orientation. SOCE, also known as conversion or reparative therapy, includes a number of methods employed by practitioners to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. In October 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law outlawing the practice of gay conversion therapy on patients under the age of eighteen. One year later, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie followed suit by signing a similar law barring gay conversion therapy practices in New Jersey. Since the passage of these statutes in California and New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York have introduced similar bills.
The rise and expansion of technology has allowed cell phones and smart phones to store vast amounts of information. The capacity of data and information contained within the cell phone provides citizens with great access to information all in one small, contained, and mobile place. As technology continues to expand its boundaries, the expectation of privacy in the information stored within one’s cell phone increases as well. The protection of this privacy clashes with the Fourth Amendment’s allowance of reasonable searches and seizures.